How to introduce your child to their new little brother or sister

Second time parents know what to expect from pregnancy but the idea of introducing their new baby to their first child can be a little daunting. To help make things go a little smoother here are our top tips for helping a new big brother or sister get to know their new sibling.

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Introduce the idea early

The idea that Mummy is pregnant can be a strange concept for younger children so it is good to give them some time to get used to the idea.
For younger children reading them stories that include pregnant mummies and new babies can be a great way to introduce the concept. Show them pictures of pregnant tummies and explain that yours will look like that soon. 

You have to love kids honesty; they might want to know where babies come from and are likely to share your news for you! Once you’ve told them, make sure you are ready with simple answers for tricky questions and for others to know that you’re expecting.

Make any big changes early on

Does your toddler need to move rooms or beds to make space for the new baby? It’s a good idea to do this in advance so that the transition can be more about them being a “big kid” now and not about being forced out by their sibling. 

Will your child be going to day-care on new days or do you want to toilet train soon? Try to make these plans ahead of time and get settled into a new routine in the months before your due date. This will make it a much smoother transition with no extra shocks or stressors for your first child.

Plan your hospital visit

If your first child is staying with a friend or relative while you are in the hospital, make a time for them to visit as soon as you feel comfortable after the birth. When they arrive try to have your hands free ready to give them a big hug before introducing the new baby. Let them touch and cuddle the baby safely while you tell them when they were a baby.

Don’t force anything, your children will form their own bonds as they grow together. Just help your first child feel secure and loved as you all welcome the new baby.

Settling in at home

Getting your first child to help with the new baby is a great way to make them feel part of the experience. You can ask them what they think the baby is saying when they coo, or get them to help when you’re picking out baby blankets or clothes. 

Make sure you take some one-on-one time with your first child while baby is sleeping or with another parent or carer. Simple, them-focused time reading or playing will help to reassure your child. 

It can seem daunting at first but before you know it your children will have formed their own special bond and be playing, laughing and, let’s face it, squabbling together.

If you need any support or have any more questions about helping introduce a new baby, please don’t hesitate to ask our qualified Happy Hearts child care team. We would love to speak with you! 

Jillian Myatt